Medical tourism worth $7.69 billion: Top 10 Indian hospitals visited by Nigerians

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Indian hospitals offer cheaper medical procedures than Nigeria and Western countries, attracting many Nigerian patients.

Hospitals like Apollo and Fortis are known for their advanced facilities and skilled professionals, providing specialised treatments.

Nigerian patients often have positive experiences in Indian hospitals, benefiting from advanced care despite occasional language barriers.

Medical tourism refers to the practice of traveling to another country for medical care. This phenomenon has gained significant traction worldwide, with millions of patients seeking healthcare services abroad annually.

 

For Nigerians, medical tourism has become an essential alternative due to various challenges faced within the domestic healthcare system.

 

These challenges include inadequate medical infrastructure, limited availability of specialised treatments, long wait times, and a shortage of qualified medical professionals.

 

Consequently, many Nigerians opt to travel abroad to access high-quality medical care, advanced treatments, and specialised surgeries.

 

Why India?

India has emerged as a preferred destination for medical tourists from Nigeria, and for good reason. This Indian medical tourism industry is valued at $7.69 billion in 2024 and is set to reach $14.31 billion by 2029. One of the primary factors driving this choice is the cost of medical treatment.

 

In India, medical procedures can be significantly cheaper compared to Nigeria and other Western countries, without compromising on the quality of care.

Additionally, Indian hospitals are renowned for their state-of-the-art facilities, cutting-edge technology, and highly skilled medical professionals who are often trained in prestigious institutions worldwide.

The availability of advanced medical treatments is another crucial factor. Indian hospitals offer a wide range of specialised services, including complex surgeries, oncology treatments, organ transplants, bone marrow transplants, and cardiac care, which are often not readily accessible in Nigeria.

Moreover, the efficiency and patient-centric approach of Indian healthcare institutions, coupled with shorter waiting times, make India an attractive option for Nigerians seeking timely and effective medical interventions.

Methodology

Nairametrics reports that the data on the top 10 Indian hospitals has been meticulously curated from leading medical tourism destinations across India. In addition to rigorous selection criteria, Nairametrics conducted interviews and surveys with Nigerian students, interns in India, and a Nigerian hospital agent to gather comprehensive insights into the quality of care and services offered by these hospitals.

 

Top 10 Indian hospitals transforming Nigerian medical tourism

Nairametrics has compiled a list of the top 10 Indian hospitals visited by Nigerians for medical tourism, along with their locations, specialties, and accreditation in no particular order.

 

Apollo Hospitals

Location: 25 cities across India including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai

 

Specialties: Cardiology, Oncology, Orthopaedics, Transplants, Neurology, Gastroenterology, Urology, Robotic Surgery

 

Accreditations: Joint Commission International (JCI), National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH)

 

Fortis Healthcare

Location: 13 cities across India including Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai

 

Specialties: Cardiac Surgery, Neurosurgery, Organ Transplants, Orthopaedics, Oncology, Gastroenterology, Paediatrics, Pulmonology.

 

Accreditations: JCI, NABH

 

Manipal Hospitals

Location: 12 cities across India including Bangalore, Delhi, Jaipur, and other cities

 

Specialties: Oncology, Neurosurgery, Cardiology, Organ Transplants, Urology, Gastroenterology, Paediatrics, Critical Care

 

Accreditations: NABH, ISO 9001:2008

 

Max Healthcare

Location: Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida

 

Specialties: Oncology, Cardiology, Neurosciences, Organ Transplants, Orthopaedics, Bariatric Surgery, Endocrinology, Rheumatology

 

Accreditations: JCI, NABH

 

BLK Super Speciality Hospital

Location: Delhi

 

Specialties: Bone Marrow Transplant, Cancer Treatment, Cardiac Care, Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Gastroenterology, Renal Sciences, Liver Transplants

 

Accreditations: JCI, NABH

 

Medanta – The Medicity

Location: Gurgaon

 

Specialties: Cardiology, Neurology, Orthopaedics, Organ Transplants, Gastroenterology, Oncology, Urology, Robotics Surgery

 

Accreditations: JCI, NABH

 

Artemis Hospital

Location: Gurgaon

 

Specialties: Cardiac Surgery, Oncology, Organ Transplants, Neurosciences, Orthopaedics, Gastroenterology, Nephrology, Critical Care

 

Accreditations: JCI, NABH

 

Artemis Hospital is known for its advanced medical care and personalised patient services, making it a preferred destination for medical tourists.

 

Narayana Health

Location:Bangalore, Kolkata, Jaipur, and 17 cities across India.

 

Specialties: Cardiology, Oncology, Transplants, Neurosciences, Orthopaedics, Gastroenterology, Paediatrics, Endocrinology

 

Accreditations: JCI, NABH

 

Narayana Health is recognised for its affordable and high-quality cardiac care and complex surgical procedures, catering to international patients from across the globe.

 

Aster Medcity

Location: Kochi

 

Specialties: Cardiology, Neurology, Oncology, Orthopaedics, Organ Transplants, Gastroenterology, Nephrology, Critical Care

 

Accreditations: JCI, NABH

 

Aster Medcity in Kochi is known for its advanced medical technology and comprehensive range of specialties, making it a popular choice for international patients seeking high-quality care.

 

Sri Ramachandra Medical Centre

Location: Chennai

 

Specialties: Cardiology, Neurosurgery, Orthopaedics, Gastroenterology, Oncology, Nephrology, Paediatrics, Urology

 

Accreditations: JCI, NABH

 

Treatment costs

Nairametrics reports that the cost of consultations at the top 10 hospitals in India varies based on the specialty and the doctor’s expertise. Here is a breakdown of the consultation fees:

 

General Practitioners and Paediatricians: The consultation fees range from 500 to 600 rupees, which is approximately N8,840.25 to N10,608.30.

Specialist Doctors (e.g., Haematologists, Oncologists, Orthopedists): The fees for consultations range from 700 to 2000 rupees, equivalent to N12,376.35 to N35,360.99.

In comparison, the cost of consultations in Nigerian hospitals is generally higher:

 

Private Hospitals in Nigeria:

General Practitioners: The consultation fees range from N10,000 to N20,000.

Specialists: The consultation fees range from N30,000 to N60,000.

Teaching Hospitals in Nigeria: The consultation fees range from N800 to N3,000 depending on the location and specialty.

The average flight costs from Lagos, Nigeria, to major Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Chennai vary depending on the airline and booking platform.

 

For instance, flights to Delhi can cost an average of N992,586, while flights to Mumbai might be approximately N850,000.

The top hospitals in India, like Apollo Hospitals and Fortis Healthcare, are renowned for their adherence to international standards, patient-centric care, and advanced medical technologies.

Accredited by organisations like the Joint Commission International and equipped with cutting-edge tools such as robotic surgical systems and advanced imaging technologies, these hospitals offer world-class medical expertise and personalised treatment plans.

Impact on Nigerian healthcare

Brain drain

 

Medical tourism has a significant impact on the Nigerian healthcare system, particularly concerning the brain drain of medical professionals.

 

The migration of highly skilled doctors and nurses to countries with better facilities and higher salaries has created a talent gap within Nigeria.

According to a study by the Blavatnik school of government, University of Oxford, Nigeria has one of the highest rates of emigration of medical professionals.

This exodus is driven by several factors, including better career opportunities, higher wages, and improved working conditions abroad.

The loss of skilled healthcare workers exacerbates the challenges faced by the Nigerian healthcare system.

 

It leads to a shortage of experienced professionals, an increased workload on the remaining staff, and ultimately, a decline in the quality of healthcare services available to the population.

 

This shortage also means longer wait times for patients, limited access to specialised care, and overall lower health outcomes.

 

Opportunities for improvement

To reduce the need for medical tourism and mitigate the brain drain, Nigeria can implement several strategies to improve its healthcare system.

 

Modernising hospitals with state-of-the-art equipment and facilities can improve the quality of care. This includes investing in advanced diagnostic tools, surgical equipment, and robust IT systems for patient management.

Increasing the number of well-equipped hospitals in both urban and rural areas can help meet the healthcare needs of the population.

Expanding and improving medical education programs to train more healthcare professionals can help address the talent gap. This includes providing scholarships and incentives for students to enter the medical field.

Providing competitive salaries and benefits can help retain medical professionals. This includes offering financial incentives, healthcare benefits, and opportunities for career advancement.

Improving the work environment by reducing the workload, ensuring a safe and supportive workplace, and providing the necessary resources for healthcare workers to perform their duties effectively.

Ensuring strong government support and commitment to healthcare reforms can help drive improvements in the sector.

This includes increasing budget allocations for health and implementing policies that promote access to quality healthcare for all.

Encouraging collaborations between the government and private sector can enhance healthcare delivery and infrastructure development.

Private investments can complement public resources, leading to better healthcare outcomes.

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